Chef's Knife Size: Total Length vs Blade LengthThe weight of a knife is typically balanced towards the bolster or the point at which the blade meets the handle. Even if you take advantage of this and grip the knife in the middle, you will still have the whole length of the blade to work with, as a minimum. Therefore it is best to look first at the blade length when deciding which size chef's knife to buy.
If you already have a knife block or magnetic strip for storage, you may wish to check that your new gyuto will fit. In this case, the size of the blade will probably make more difference than the size of the handle.
How Much Space Do You Need?Take a look at your workspace. Is space restricted, or is there plenty of elbow room? How wide are your chopping boards from front to back? Where do you usually put your knife down between tasks? How will you store your new chef's knife when it is not in use?
What's Cooking?Shorter chef's knives are great for chopping vegetables. If you regularly carve up large cuts of meat - beef brisket or a whole chicken, for example - a longer knife might help you work more efficiently, making fewer cuts.
On the other hand, an 11-inch chef's knife is not ideal for peeling an apple!
Comfort is EverythingLastly, consider what size chef's knife you are comfortable using. There are circumstances when a very large knife is more of a hazard than a help, especially if the user is not accustomed to it.
In particular, bear in mind the weight of a knife, especially if you intend to use it for hours at a time. A typical 180mm gyuto may weigh under 100g, but a 300mm gyuto could be over two and a half times heavier! Always, with extra weight comes extra chopping power, but more potential to cause fatigue.
A Personal ChoiceEvery cook has his or her idea of the perfect chef's knife size. Our best advice is to practise with a few different examples to discover where the optimum balance of manoeuvrability and chopping power lies for you.